One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A plant tuber credited with various tonic and medicinal properties, especially in East Asia.
- ‘They have bought a lot of ginseng and other tonics to boost his nutrition intake.’
- ‘Two species of ginseng have shown promise in managing diabetes.’
- ‘Read on to learn more about ginseng's amazing healing properties.’
- ‘American ginseng may possess effects similar to Asian ginseng.’
- ‘For this reason ginseng has been called the ‘king of tonic medicine’ in the Orient and a panacea in the West.’
2The plant from which ginseng is obtained, native to eastern Asia and North America.
- ‘Harvest herb roots including bloodroot, chicory, ginseng, and golden seal in the fall, after the foliage fades.’
- ‘Panax ginseng is the herb most people are familiar with.’
Mid 17th century: from Chinese rénshēn, from rén ‘man’ + shēn, a kind of herb (because of the supposed resemblance of the forked root to a person).
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